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Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 16:55 UK

Troops sent for South Africa poll

ANC supporters at a rally on 14 April 2009
Both the ANC and the opposition are trading accusations of violence

The South African army has been called in to the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal to prevent violence from flaring up over the elections next week.

The government made the decision to send troops and more police to the area after a house was burned to the ground.

The ruling African National Congress blamed the opposition for violence they say has killed five since August 2008.

But the Inkatha Freedom Party say police and the ANC are guilty of "terror tactics" and intimidation.

"The IFP are on the warpath," ANC provincial secretary Senzo Mchumu told the BBC.

He said a group of ANC campaigners were attacked on Thursday as they were going door-to-door in the small township of Lindelami, near the provincial capital Durban.

A house was burned down, but no-one was hurt, he said.

"The IFP are saying that the ANC are responsible for the violence but we cannot be. We called for the police to come, we cannot do that if we were responsible."

'Beating supporters'

IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango said the police and the ANC were colluding to suppress his party.

ANC supporters in Durban on 7 April 2009

"The police are on the streets beating up our supporters and tearing off any IFP shirt they see," he told the BBC.

He said the violence on Thursday was the result of a long-standing conflict between squatters and home-owners in the area, and had nothing to do with elections.

The government has previously increased the number of police deployed to the region.

Before a rally in the town of Nongoma in February, the ANC says its members were attacked and shot at.



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